Valuable visits to Community Hospitals in South Staffordshire

From our Independent Chair, Sir Neil McKay

This month I have been out and about with David Pearson, Vice Chair for Together We’re Better visiting the two community hospitals in the south of the county, following my visits to those in North Staffordshire earlier this year. These visits gave us the chance to meet and talk with local staff at both sites, as well as local stakeholders and it was a great pleasure for us to see the best practice that can be shared across the Together We’re Better partnership.

Starting the day at Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital, we were met by members of the Executive team and various clinical staff members and given a short presentation on the local areas and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust’s (UHDB) vision for the two community hospitals. This provided an insight into what the future of health and care might look like in the south of the county, and importantly how the UHDB vision links in with the vision of the wider Together We’re Better partnership.

A tour of the site allowed us to meet with local staff on the ground, stopping off at Philip Ward where we were shown how clinicians and staff work to ensure patients are able to return home as soon as possible, using the Discharge to Assess pathway. Speaking with ward staff, we were given an insight into the experiences of working alongside social care colleagues to make the process as smooth and as timely as possible for the patients.

It was interesting to speak with staff in the nurse-led Minor Injuries Units at both sites, learning how the units work on a day-to-day basis, treating patients of any age and with varying minor illnesses and injuries. The passionate staff gave examples of the types of patients they see daily and it is fantastic to hear that the vast majority of patients who present at these units are seen there and then by the highly trained nurses, with no need to be transferred to another department or an acute setting.

We were also able to stop off and view the surgical theatre and day ward, where we spoke to staff about their aspirations for the future of the service and what extra services they would like to see brought in going forward.

In the afternoon we travelled to Samuel Johnson Community Hospital, once again visiting the Minor Injuries Unit and the two inpatient wards – Anna Ward and Darwin Ward. When visiting the wards we again discussed the Discharge to Assess pathway with staff and it was pleasing to hear how enthusiastic the staff were about the pathway and how useful they find it. It also allowed us to explore some of the frustrations which arise when medically fit patients are not able to leave the ward for various reasons.

David and I also got the chance to visit several outpatient areas at both hospital sites, and the midwife-led maternity unit at Samuel Johnson Community Hospital, where care is provided by a small team of midwives and maternity support workers. We also stopped to meet a local voluntary sector organisation, which was holding its first seated exercise class with local elderly residents. It was great to see groups like this already taking place, as we move towards implementing social prescribing across the county.

The latter half of our day was spent talking to a small group of stakeholders from local district councils, patient participation groups and resident action groups. Personal experiences were sought and shared, along with views and possible ideas for the future of local health and care in the area. All in all it was a very useful day and a great opportunity to see first-hand the services provided by both hospitals and their place in the communities they serve.

Sessions talking to staff at both sites and stakeholders from the surrounding areas were positive and very insightful. We would like to thank all of those who took the time to speak with us and share their experiences and views, which we will consider moving forward into our next phase of engagement in spring 2019.

Outside Sir Robert Peel 50